Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pom Pom Tutorial

1. I bought packs of tissue paper at Wal-mart/Target for 99 cents per pack. Eight sheets come in a pack. (Note: If you are looking for a larger variety of colors-your local party store is a good resource.)

2. Starting at one end, make 1 1/2-2 inch accordion folds down the entire length of the tissue paper square. (Crease the paper after each fold.) When you are done, it will look like this on the ends:

3. Wrap a piece of floral wire around the center to secure the tissue paper. It also helps to tie a long piece of clear thread to the wire for hanging purposes later.

4. Trim off both ends of the tissue paper like this:

5. When you pull it apart it will look like this:

6. Gently pull the tissue paper apart from the center, one layer at a time.

7. And, in the end you'll have one big, fluffy ball of goodness.

P.S. After I made mine, I located the original tutorial from Martha Stewart. You can find her instructions here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Happy Spring

My belated Easter picture of the boys. Better late than never, right?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Land of Enchantment

I'm back from my trip to New Mexico. Aside from a cold, snowy day in Santa Fe, I'd say an enchanting time was had by all!

Welcome to Albuquerque! (The view from the airplane.)

My sister, my mom and I.

The prettiest Native American woman.

The prettiest Native American baby, er...rather, me exploiting my niece in the souvenir shop.

More souvenir shop exploitation...

Three lovely ladies...

A yodeling cowboy in Old Towne.

"Alfonso de Albuquerque" look-a-like.
(He was the founder of Albuquerque and we were at the Founders Day Festival. Go figure.)

The whole gang!

And finally, home sweet home.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Adios Amigos

I'm off to New Mexico to have an "enchanting" weekend with some of my favorite girl friends. See you next week!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Easter

I hope you all had a happy Easter! We started our celebration with family on Saturday with an egg hunt and dinner. I used our little dinner as my excuse to make the pom poms I've been drooling over for so long! They are actually very simple to make (I'm going to post a tutorial) but have a special way of making any occasion seem a little more spectacular. Also, I forgot to take a picture of my kids before church and Spencer fell asleep in the car on the way home, so an Easter picture of the kiddos will have to wait until next week. (I should make it clear that although I have numerous pictures of the pom poms and NO Easter pictures of my kids, I really do love them (my kids, that is) more than the pom poms. But I tell ya... the pom poms are running a really close second.)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Thrift Store Revival - Men's Shirt

My apologies for the cruddy before and after pictures. The before picture has some major white balance and exposure problems so it doesn't look like the same shirt but I promise it is. If you are interested, scroll down for the how-to.

Thrift Revival Q & A

When it comes to reviving old clothing, several people have asked me the same two questions:

1. "How do you do it?"
I usually take the garment apart, and then sew it back together, making a few adjustments along the way. Hopefully the photo tutorial below will give you a better idea of what goes on during the transformation. However, if you really want to get into sewing, I suggest buying a simple pattern of something you would like to make. (SIMPLE is key word here.) Also, be sure to buy cheap fabric, have really low expectations of how it will turn out and take your time making it. The first and only pattern I have ever bought (and highly recommend) was this one. A Simplicity "Built By Wendy" shirt and dress pattern. With it, I made the shirt I blogged about here. By using a pattern, you will get used to how the various fabric pieces fit together to make the final garment. You will also familiarize yourself with some different sewing techniques.

2. "What do you look for?"

This is tough to answer because when I go to the thrift store, I am typically not looking for anything in particular. Most of the time things just jump out at me. I would say look for things in colors and fabrics you like. (Note: stretchy fabrics are easier to work with.)
With the men's shirts, I look for large sizes (XL or XXL) in softer cottons and solid colors (a budweiser logo in the middle of the shirt doesn't do much for me). The bigger the shirt, the more material you will have to work with. I have found that sewing, in general, always takes more fabric than you think you will need. Extra fabric is also useful for any embellishments you want to add, like a ruffle, a bow or a fabric flower.
When you are looking for dresses to revive, once again look for patterns, colors and fabrics you like and are flattering on you. Then envision the dress in a smaller size, with shorter sleeves and a shorter hem, perhaps. If you like what you see then go for it! For dresses, I usally always have a basic idea of what I'm going to do to change the dress before I buy it. You can always change your mind and fine tune it as you go along but a basic idea is helpful. The best thing about sewing projects from the thrift store is the cost! If it doesn't work out, you're only out $3 and a few hours of your time.

Ruffle Top How-To

(WARNING: This is a really lengthy post full of lots of boring sewing details. However, I've also included lots of pictures for those of you who have an extremely short attention span like me.) Also, although I think this revival project turned out pretty so-so, the process is universal and different aspects of it can be used on a variety of projects.

1. The shirt before I did anything.

2. I almost always start by cutting off the sleeves and the ribbing around the neck. (Assuming the shirt you have chosen is a crewneck.)

3. Trim the sleeves in a little bit more.

4. Take off some of the length. Have an idea of how long you want the shirt to be before you cut. Remember to factor in a 1/2 inch seam allowance for heming.

5. Try the shirt on and pinch it how you want it to fit. Then, turn the shirt inside out and take in the sides. I wanted the shirt to have a bell or a-line shape so I sewed at a slight diagonal away from the arm pit.


6. This is the piece I cut off the bottom. (See step 4) Also, pretend that it isn't cut into two pieces. I wish I wouldn't have done that. This is the piece I used to make the ruffle around the top. First, I cut it and sewed it into one rectangular long strip of fabric. With right sides together, I sewed the edges together to make a long tube.

7. Here is the tube after I turned it right side out.

8. To make the ruffle, I did a loose under-over stitch through both layers of fabric down the entire length of the tube. (Be sure to tie a knot at the end of your thread. You don't want it to pull through.)

9. When you reach the end of the tube, pull the thread to pucker the fabric. (Don't pull too hard or you'll break the thread!) I call this ruching and it comes in handy quite often. You can pucker it as tight or as loose as you like. I puckered mine to fit almost around the collar of the shirt.

10. Pin the ruffle in place and sew it to the collar. I left about 3 inches on each end loose so I could sew a bow underneath.

11. If you buy a men's XL shirt, the sleeve opening will be much larger than the arm hole, as shown below.

12. Measure and with the sleeve turned inside out, sew the sleeve to fit the arm hole. (Be sure to factor in a seam allowance here.)

13. Once the sleeve and the arm hole are the same size, place them right sides together and stitch.

14. When you turn it right side out the shirt will look like this:

15. Here I trimmed a little length off the sleeve. With the sleeve turned inside out, I folded it over and 1/4 inch, and ironed. I folded it over again, this time about 1/2 inch and ironed again.

16. With the sleeve still turned inside out I sewed along the edge of the fold almost all the way around the sleeve.

17. As you can see, I left a small opening at the under side of the sleeve.

18. Here I inserted a 1/4 inch piece of elastic through the opening and worked it through the casing.

19. It makes the sleeve look like this:

20. Sew the loose ends of elastic together and sew the opening (See step 17) shut. When you turn the shirt right side out it will look like this:

21. Pin some cute ribbon in place under the riffle collar. Sew it down and then sew the loose ends of the collar down on top of the ribbon.

22. Final Result
That's it! Hopefully someone out there finds this post useful. If you have any questions e-mail me or leave a comment and I'll try my best to help. Good luck and happy reviving!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Daffodils and Sewing

The daffodils are in bloom so that means it's spring (I'm trying to ignore the fact that it is forty and snowing/raining today) and my table is cluttered with ribbon and thread which means I've been creating! Hopefully I'll have my latest thrift store revival project (including a photo tutorial!) posted sometime this week.